When Elon Musk isn't busy building electric cars that will change the world forever, or building home solar panels that will change the world forever, or building other things that will... change the world forever, he's busy reading philosophy and thinking that the universe we live in is a video game and we're all just NPCs.
I like this idea. He makes a pretty good argument.
He expanded upon his views at the annual Recode 'Code' conference. Here are his thoughts, as transcribed by Vox.
The strongest argument for us being in a simulation probably is the following. Forty years ago we had pong. Like, two rectangles and a dot. That was what games were.
Now, 40 years later, we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously, and it's getting better every year. Soon we'll have virtual reality, augmented reality.
If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality, even if that rate of advancement drops by a thousand from what it is now. Then you just say, okay, let's imagine it's 10,000 years in the future, which is nothing on the evolutionary scale.
So given that we're clearly on a trajectory to have games that are indistinguishable from reality, and those games could be played on any set-top box or on a PC or whatever, and there would probably be billions of such computers or set-top boxes, it would seem to follow that the odds that we're in base reality is one in billions.
Tell me what's wrong with that argument. Is there a flaw in that argument?
I actually find this argument fairly convincing. Later Musk says we, as a civilisation, should hope that our existence is part of some simulation. I think I'm okay with it. I'd be fine with it. Does it make our lives any more or less consequential?
Maybe Nathan Drake believes he's a real human being?